Reviews

Best Diesel Fuel Additives: Improve Your Fuel Economy and Engine Performance 

Maximize your fuel efficiency and save money with these top diesel fuel additives.

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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON May 12, 2021

Do you know what’s happening to your vehicle’s diesel fuel? If you’re anything like most drivers, you only pay close attention to your fuel when you’re in need of a fill up — or if you notice there’s a problem within the engine, fuel delivery system, or other parts under the hood. However, when you own a diesel car, truck, or SUV, it’s always a good idea to keep your fuel in mind. Many diesel vehicles can benefit from a diesel fuel additive, an extra ingredient that can offer better engine performance, protection for your fuel, and increased stability.

 

Diesel fuel additives can offer a number of advantages. Incorporating an additive into your fuel tank can help lubricity, improve your vehicle’s cold weather performance, and even make your fuel more stable. Additives can enhance and protect, smooth and properly fuel, all for a relatively minimal cost. If you think your car could benefit from an additive, we’ve got the products and the information you need. Check out which products we’re calling the best diesel fuel additives around.

Best Overall
Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Extreme
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Summary
Summary

This is a highly-rated diesel fuel treatment coming from reliable Hot Shot's Secret. It cleans and protects the engine and improves its overall performance. Comes in a 32-ounce bottle.

Pros
Pros
  • Safe yet powerful formula for long-term use
  • Cleans injector tips, cylinders, fuel lines, and tank
  • Boosts cetane up to 7 points
  • Promotes quick starts and increases mileage
  • Eliminates smoke and excess water
Cons
Cons
  • Awkward bottle design might cause leaks and messes
  • Might color hands in black
  • Has a strong odor
Best Overall
Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Extreme
Best Value
Howes Diesel Treat
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Summary
Summary

An anti-gel diesel fuel additive that lowers the cold filter plug by 20 degrees. The product is packaged in a 32-ounce bottle.

Pros
Pros
  • Improves the cetane rating and overall performance of your engine
  • Can be mixed with all types of diesel fuel
  • Contains anti-water removal and cold weather protection formula
Cons
Cons
  • Not very effective when it comes to cleaning the fuel system
Best Value
Howes Diesel Treat
Honorable Mention
Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment
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Summary
Summary

A diesel fuel additive that contains no solvent and can function as a fuel injector cleaner or a lubricant. The product can treat both diesel and gasoline engines.

Pros
Pros
  • Enhances engine performance and increases the lifespan of your engine
  • Boosts the cetane rating and lowers the number of sulfur contaminants
Cons
Cons
  • Not ideal for large trucks fitted with extensive fuel system and multiple engine parts
Honorable Mention
Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment

Why Trust Us


All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Why Buy Diesel Fuel Additives?

  • Improved engine performance. Using a diesel fuel additive can help your engine run more smoothly and more efficiently, preventing — and potentially improving — imperfections and problems. An additive helps the temperature and the velocity at which diesel fuel burns, which can benefit your engine. With an additive, you’ll see a higher power capacity and increased efficiency.
  • Less wear and tear. In order to keep your vehicle well-maintained and on the road for a long time, you need to protect its components and systems, keeping them in good shape over many miles. A diesel fuel additive can help with this, as it will limit the amount of wear and tear on your engine, fuel system, and other parts. An additive increases lubrication and prevents corrosion thanks to special ingredients, which makes problems that appear as the result of wear and tear less likely.
  • Less frequent maintenance. Because an additive can reduce wear and tear on your car, you may notice that you need less frequent maintenance. You may not need to spend as much money or as much time maintaining various parts of your vehicle.
  • Reduced emissions. Emissions are a problem, especially if your car is one that creates a ton of exhaust emissions while it’s running. Whether you’re interested in benefiting the environment or need to meet local emissions standards, a diesel fuel additive can help. With an additive in the mix, your improved engine performance can lead to less carbon dioxide exhaust emissions. And, if your additive removes any buildup in your fuel system, this can also cut down on emissions.
  • Better fuel efficiency. A diesel fuel additive actually works to reduce your car’s fuel consumption. That means you won’t have to refuel as often — which means you’ll save money over time. With improved engine performance, you may also find that your vehicle is using fuel in more efficient ways, another factor that can lower consumption (and your costs).
  • All-weather performance. When temperatures drop in the winter, diesel fuel can begin to change. Cold temperatures cause diesel to start crystalizing, which makes the fuel turn waxy. And this can ultimately cause damage to your engine and other components — or prevent you from driving altogether. An additive can prevent these problems, keeping diesel stable at any temperature regardless of the season.

Types of Diesel Fuel Additives

Fuel Stabilizers

It’s quite normal for the quality of diesel to diminish over time, after the refinement and storage process. It could be either oxidation or degradation that causes the diesel to lose its touch. Whatever it is, fuel stabilizers are purposely designed to maintain the quality of your diesel and prevent oxidation, degradation, or breakdown.

Cetane Boosters

These types of diesel fuel additives are responsible for improving fuel combustion and reducing the ignition delay time. The higher the cetane boost, the better the diesel engine efficiency. Apart from improving the engine performance, cetane boosters cut off smoke emissions, deposits, and slow down the fuel consumption without compromising the quality.

Fuel Injector Detergents

Like every other organic substance, diesel can accumulate bacteria, molds, yields, or other deposits. However, fuel injector detergents can clean any wanted dirt that is blocking your vehicle's injector nozzle. Also, such detergents can also clean other engine parts that are exposed to diesel. Afterward, you can expect the acceleration and hard start to improve.

Corrosion Inhibitors

Even though the water found in diesel is useful for condensation and stabilizing fuel temperature, the dissolved salt can cause crystallization, which eventually leads to rust and corrosions. Nevertheless, corrosion inhibitors serve a purpose to intercept the crystallized salt and prevent rust or corrosion. Typically, corrosion inhibitors contain metal or alloy chemical compounds.

Anti-Gel Additives

If you're living in extremely cold areas, the diesel fuel filter can get blocked due to accumulated wax or gel formation in the diesel. Anti-gel additives are made to prevent the viscous effect in diesel during cold weather and improve cold-starting performance. Additionally, anti-gel additives can also unblock diesel fuel filters.

Top Brands

Lucas Oil

Lucas Oil is one of the most popular automobile lubricants and fuel additives manufacturers in North America. The company, which was founded in 1989 and eventually grew to become a multi-million dollar company, is headquartered in California. Its highest selling diesel fuel treatment product is the Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment

Stanadyne

Founded more than a century ago in 1876, Stanadyne is a company with a long history of inventing groundbreaking products. At the moment, Stanadyne specializes in manufacturing gasoline and diesel fuel systems. Also, it's one of the leading brands of fuel additives. Its top-rated item is the Stanadyne Performance Formula.  

Howes

After starting out in 1920 as a company that manufactures lubricants, Howes expanded to become one of the best diesel fuel additives brands. The company’s headquarters is in North Kingston, R.I. One of its most used fuel additives for diesel trucks is the Howes Diesel Treat. 

Pricing

  • Under $15: An average-sized bottle of diesel fuel additive won’t cost you much. Most additives are priced at $15 or less, with many falling right around the $10 price point. You may even find cheaper options if you shop at big box retailers.
  • $15 to $25: Step up to this price range, and you can get the very same diesel fuel additives from the $15 or less price range in larger sizes. You’ll also find more specialty blends or additives with specific purposes.
  • $25 to $50: This price range includes a slimmer selection of products and choices. You’ll typically find bulk products for $25 and up, but it also includes some uniquely specialized additives and extra-pricey premium options.

Key Features

No Alcohol

The best diesel fuel engine cleaner should contain no alcohol. The logic behind it is simple; alcohol can damage vital engine parts such as O-rings and seals. Not to mention, it can destabilize compression. Instead, it is better to choose diesel fuel additives with detergents which will unlikely cause any harm compared to alcohol solvent formula.

Environmentally Friendly

A top-quality diesel fuel additive product should reduce fuel emissions and comply with environmental regulations. That means that the chemicals used to manufacture the formula ought to minimize the effect on the environment. Always ensure that you read the label carefully and check out if the product is EPA-approved.

Water Removal

Before you buy diesel fuel additive, it's critical that you examine if it can remove water through dispersants or emulsifiers. Of course, diesel contains a small percentage of water properties, but if the water is not removed, it can cause a lot of trouble during winter, plus corrosion, and microbial contamination problems.

Anticoagulant Properties

Because diesel fuel can thicken over time — and in the presence of cold temperatures — having an additive with anticoagulant properties is critically important. Anticoagulant properties stop the fuel from thickening into an immovable, unusable sludge. It’ll keep your fuel moving smoothly and easily through your fuel system and engine. And it’ll also maintain the condition and formulation of your fuel so your car always starts without any issue.

Lubricity

In addition to keeping your fuel at just the right consistency, you want an additive that keeps it well-lubricated. In recent years, emissions regulations and changes have led to significant reductions in the amount of sulfur that’s included in diesel. Sulfur was a great lubricant — and as a result, your diesel fuel is no longer as smooth-flowing as it once was. So, you’ll want to make sure to look for an additive that can restore some of that lost lubricity. It’ll keep your engine running smoothly and your fuel flowing without issue.

Other Considerations

  • Type of Diesel Fuel Additive. There is no all-in-one diesel additive formula available in the market. However, there are diesel treatment products with dual or multi-functionality. Before you make a purchase, it’s important to know what specific type of diesel fuel additive you prefer. For instance, if you’re into racing, it would make sense to search for the additive that is utilized for racing cars.
  • Versatility. While many diesel fuel additives are specialized and meant for targeting one or two purposes, you can find products that are more widely versatile. For example, a lubricating additive can help everything from engine performance to fuel efficiency; it might even be better equipped for cold weather use. The more applications an additive offers, the more value you’ll get out of it.
  • Engine Compatibility. Just like how diesel fuel additives are designed for different functionality, there are additives that are only compatible with specific diesel engines. The best fuel additives for diesel trucks should be compatible with most types of diesel engines and fuel systems. Alternatively, there are fuel additives that can be used for general use.
  • Treatment Convenience. Depending on the type of product, you can either top up after every refuel or every once in a while. Even though you’re unlikely to forget after every refueling interval, it can be costly in the long run. On the other hand, diesel fuel additives that only need to be used after a longer duration are cheaper but easier to forget the schedule. Regardless, you should choose whichever works out for you.

Best Diesel Fuel Additives Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Extreme

Hot Shot's Secret Diesel Extreme is a reliable fuel treatment that cleans and protects the engine while also improving its overall performance. The product cleans injector tips, cylinders, fuel lines, and the tank. It boosts cetane up to 7 points. It also eliminates smoke, promotes quick starts, even in cold weather, increases mileage, and much more.


The main benefit of this product is the powerful formula that cleans the engine and removes excess water. It also removes moisture and prevents dirt from piling up, protecting the vehicle for a long time. While cleaning and stabilizing the fuel system, Diesel Extreme ensures your vehicle stays at peak power all the time. The bottle contains 32 ounces, which should be enough for regular maintenance.  


What can be an issue with this product is the bottle design. A small funnel allows for the liquid to drip down the bottle, which creates a mess. The product requires careful handling, especially considering that the content is black and difficult to wash. It also has a strong odor. Protective gloves are recommended as well as some kind of protection for the garage floors and the vehicle surface.

Best Value
Howes Diesel Treat

Looking for a diesel fuel additive to last you through winter? Howes Diesel Treat is an anti-gel that can save your diesel engine during harsh cold winter conditions. In fact, it can reduce your diesel cold filter plugging by 20 degrees. The 32-ounce product is enough to treat 150 gallons of diesel fuel.


The best feature of Howes Diesel Treat is its anti-water removal characteristics, which prevent water from freezing and blocking the fuel filters. Further, it can make your diesel engine run smoother by improving the cetane rating and reducing the possibility of buildup on the fuel injectors. To top it off, it can blend with all types of diesel, including low-sulfur and biodiesel.


This particular diesel fuel additive is an anti-gel but not a detergent. So, if you own an old vehicle and you want to clean the fuel system, it is better you seek other alternatives. However, the Howes Diesel Treat is more of a prevention rather than a cure, at least in the sense that it can lower the probability of water solidifying and blocking the fuel injector.

Honorable Mention
 Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment

Lucas Oil is a household name among car drivers, and the Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment is proof of its reliability. The product can be used as either a lubricant or a cleaner for your fuel system. Additionally, the formula contains no solvent, and it can treat both diesel and gasoline engines.


When blended with diesel, it can neutralize the fuel to lower the sulfur levels and exhaust emission. Also, it will lubricate and clean the fuel injector and carburetor, which is vital for better engine performance. Besides, it may help to extend the longevity of your engine parts. Quite exceptional, it can improve your cetane rates from five to nine, which makes it one of the best cetane boosters.


The biggest downside is that it isn't ideal for trucks with very big fuel tanks. Even though it contains a detergent formula, it could be a challenge to clean huge fuel systems with an overwhelming amount of moisture, sulfur, and carbon deposits.

Honorable Mention
Power Service Diesel Fuel Additive

If you’re looking for a diesel fuel additive that’s an all-around aid for your vehicle, you’ll want to pick up a bottle of Power Service Diesel Fuel Additive. This additive can do so much for your engine, your fuel system, and more — it’ll prevent fuel system problems, improve efficiency and power, stop cold starts, and minimize lagging. Plus, it’ll offer a great dose of lubrication along the way.


With an 80-ounce bottle of this Power Service additive, you’ll smooth out your diesel fuel in so many ways. It’ll prevent wear and tear on components like your pumps and injectors. It enhances engine power, helping fuel to flow with great efficiency and lubrication. This liquid even boosts cetane and minimizes your need for downshifting. Once this additive gets to work, you’ll notice that your mileage and your acceleration increase. Over time, you can save money thanks to the awesome improvements happening under your car’s hood. It starts with small improvements and gets better the more you put this additive to work.

Honorable Mention
Liqui Moly Diesel Purge

This is a high-quality product coming from a well-known company, Liqui Moly. Diesel Purge is a fuel treatment that cleans the entire fuel system and removes all possible harmful substances and deposits. It's efficient and very popular among drivers. It comes in a 16-ounce bottle. 


What makes this product so special is its powerful formula. It works to clean and maintain the entire fuel system, which means it enhances the overall engine performance. The treatment improves fuel economy, reduces smoke and other harmful emissions, and makes the engine run flawlessly again. As a result, the vehicle runs smoother and quieter, allowing for a more enjoyable ride. 


There are a couple of things to keep in mind when using this product, however. First, some users didn't notice any particular improvement in gas mileage, so the results are inconsistent. Second, it's crucial to use the right amount of liquid to avoid causing damage to the injectors. Carefully follow the provided instructions, especially if you've never used these kinds of products before.

Honorable Mention
Sta-Bil 22254 Diesel Fuel Stabilizer

The Sta-Bil diesel fuel stabilizer is designed to enhance overall vehicle performance by cleaning and lubricating the fuel system. It prevents sludge and sediment formations and protects against corrosion. The liquid is quite efficient in reducing oxidation, removing water, and maintaining the engine overall.  


The product comes in a 32-ounce bottle. It's completely safe to use on all diesel engines, even after every fill-up. The rate is simple: an ounce of liquid covers 10 gallons of fuel. At this rate, the product should last for a year or more, allowing for quick vehicle starts and flawless engine performance. 


The biggest drawback of this product is the cap design. Once opened, the bottle doesn't seal tight, and it might leak. It's not possible, therefore, to keep the bottle in the vehicle because the liquid might pour out during rides. Some users also noticed that the liquid is overall difficult to pour, especially when there’s a small amount left at the bottom of the bottle.

Honorable Mention
Meaner Power Diesel Kleaner

If your main goal in choosing an additive is cleaning up and preventing potential buildup throughout your fuel system, Meaner Power Diesel Kleaner is just what you need. Specifically designed to be used with modern diesel fuel, this additive is formulated just for Ultra Low Sulfur (ULSD) diesel fuel. And it can step in to pick up what’s left behind when sulfur content is slashed significantly.


Add this diesel fuel additive into your vehicle’s gas tank, and you’ll get increased lubricity, lower BTUs, and less wear and tear on your fuel injection system. But it really shines when it comes to buildup and left-behind gunk. The additive can prevent deposits from forming and remove any already present, cleaning up your fuel injectors, pumps, and other components. Thanks to this, it’ll work to improve engine power, fuel economy, and your fuel system’s overall durability. You can expect about a 5 percent improvement in your fuel efficiency alone.


And the perks of this additive don’t end there. It can also remove water from your diesel fuel, prevent microbial growth, stabilize fuel, eliminate sediment, and reduce emissions. It’s a true workhorse product.

Honorable Mention
Peak Blue Agri-Clean Fuel Stabilizer Additive

Here’s another excellent additive that offers versatility and multiple forms of improvement for your car and your fuel: Peak Blue Agri-Clean Fuel Stabilizer Additive. While it’s billed primarily as a fuel stabilizer, a 32-ounce bottle of this fluid can do so much more. It’s formulated to enhance your diesel fuel while it cleans and protects, tackling multiple needs at once.


Peak Blue’s product will improve your engine’s performance and increase its longevity. This fuel additive works to improve cetane, increasing it by up to five numbers, and restore any lost performance to your engine’s injectors. It provides a boost to your engine, allowing it to start faster and operate more smoothly while you’re driving. And you’ll love the reduction in harmful emissions and improved fuel efficiency that this additive leads to. Suitable for use in ultra low sulfur diesel, renewable diesel, and biodiesel fuels, you’ll be able to “clean up” your vehicle in a number of ways. 


There’s just one critical detail to this additive. It actually isn’t designed for passenger cars or trucks. It’s meant for agriculture and off-road vehicles, so you’ll only want to use it in your heaviest-duty diesel-powered vehicles.

Honorable Mention
Opti-Lube XPD All-in-One Diesel Fuel Additive

Opti-Lube XPD All-in-One Diesel Fuel Additive is true to its name: it’s really an all-in-one additive that can tackle a number of common diesel issues. From cleanup to maintenance, performance to efficiency, and stability to solidity, this single additive can do a whole lot once it’s mixed into your vehicle’s diesel fuel.


While this additive is specially formulated to improve the lubricity of ULSD fuel, it can do even more. This multi-functional product enhances the quality of your fuel, allowing for better performance and reduced wear with every use. A single bottle can treat up to 128 gallons of diesel. And you’ll get better efficiency right away. Once added to diesel, this liquid improves fuel economy, increases power, gets rid of deposits, cleans injectors, and knocks down harmful emissions. It prevents rust and corrosion, removing damaging ingredients in your fuel.


This additive can also prevent problems while it works to solve those already present. It improves fuel stability, improves water separation, and keeps your fuel at just the right consistency in cold weather. It’ll even help keep fuel in good shape if you’re putting your vehicle into storage.

Honorable Mention
K100 Diesel Fuel Treatment

When it comes to keeping your fuel well-balanced and smoothly flowing, K100 Diesel Fuel Treatment can help. This additive, which is a bio-based formula, is different from other additives on our list. It specifically targets water contamination, keeping your fuel and its associated components at the right lubrication level without any harmful microbes.


In every bottle of K100 additive, you’ll get ingredients that are meant to prevent water-related problems. It can eliminate the conditions necessary for microbe growth, keeps water separation at the right level, and cleans up to improve efficiency. This additive increases lubricity by anywhere from 20 to 40 percent, enhancing fuel quality and delivering better mileage every tank along the way.


But the perks of this diesel fuel additive don’t end there. It also works to improve overall engine performance, getting rid of gunk and buildup along the way for a cleaner system. It can help you achieve smoother, easier starts and a better idle. You might even notice that you get more power and better acceleration once this additive cleans up your fuel and your engine.

Tips & Advice 

  • Always follow the prescribed dosage when adding diesel fuel additive. Keep in mind that if you add excess diesel additive treatment, you may cause poor filterability and even cause a blockage.
  • Rather than mixing and blending additive with diesel fuel and adding the mixture into the tank, it would be easier and more convenient to inject the diesel fuel additive into the fuel tank when refilling.
  • There are certain mixing and blending equipment that you can purchase to avoid insufficient mixing especially if you’re driving heavy trucks. For instance, you could use a fuel injector quill or a static mixer to improve the mixing chemistry.
  • If you’re adding a diesel fuel additive to prevent crystallization during winter, you must add the additive before the fuel is below cloud point. Otherwise, if you add the additive after the fuel crystalizes, it won’t do much to help the situation.
  • For those who are living in regions where temperatures fluctuate rapidly, it is better to seek out additives with very dilute formula. Also, an all-season diesel treatment could be your best option.

FAQs

Q: Does using diesel fuel additive make my brand new vehicle’s warranty invalid?

No. According to the USA Federal Warranty Act, a vehicle manufacturer is prohibited from invalidating a warranty just because you used a fuel additive.

Q: What is cetane rating on diesel fuel?

The cetane rating is a measurement used to determine the tendency of a specific batch of diesel to ignite or burn. Basically, if the cetane rating is improved, so will the overall engine performance.

Q: Do diesel fuel additives really work? 

Fuel additives prevent your fuel system from wearing down and can prevent an increase in fuel consumption caused by fouled components.

Q: What is the cleanest diesel fuel? 

The cleanest diesel fuels contain 97-percent less sulfur, and they reduce soot emissions by 10 percent.

Q: Can fuel additives damage your engine? 

Fuel additives aren't damaging as long as you follow the instructions and use them as directed.

Q: How do you rejuvenate old diesel fuel? 

To recondition old diesel fuel you can use PRI-D Diesel Fuel Treatment. It's designed to restore degraded fuel.

Q: When should I use diesel fuel additives?

If you want to prevent injector damage caused by water and deposits, fuel additives can help. Fuel additives also dissolve the asphaltenes that are responsible for fuel filter plugging.

Final Thoughts

Our top pick for the best diesel fuel additive is Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Extreme. The product can be used on any diesel engine, and it can enhance the overall performance of your engine.

However, if you’re looking for a cheaper option, consider the Howes Diesel Treat.